If you are visiting Slovenia, time your trip to coincide with the charming Central Saturday Market in Ljubljana; the Mecca of, and the best place to indulge in, local Slovenian food. Traditionally, it has also been a place for locals to meet and enjoy each other’s company.
The market is open from 08:00 to 16.00 every day but Sunday, all year round. However if you want to experience its full diversity, be there on Saturday before 13:00. From the statue of Slovenia’s most famous poet, France Prešeren, just cross the famous Triple bridge, turn left along the river and you will find yourself captured by the market’s lively atmosphere and mouthwatering smells. It spreads along the beautiful Ljubljanica river, all the way to the Dragon bridge. Both bridges, and the fabulous surrounding architecture in the central area, are Renaissance-influenced. Designed by the most renowned Slovenian architect, Jože Plečnik, between 1940 and 1944.
The Central Market consists of an open-air marketplace, located in the Vodnikov and Pogačar squares; a covered market, situated between the two squares; and various small shops along the riverbank. The market’s stone facade with big curved windows and graceful classical columns are typical of Plečnik’s architectural style.
Mouthwatering local produce from Slovenia
Local people sell an abundance of wonderful produce inside, underneath and in between the beautiful arcades. Every taste can be fulfilled, from meat lovers to vegans, there is plenty of choice for everybody; seasonal and organic fruit and veggies; homemade yogurt and cottage cheese; freshly baked bread; dry-cured meats; flowers; herbs; spices; olive and pumpkin seed oil; and a variety of nuts. The traditional, open air pizzeria will seduce you with delicious whole grain bases, prepared by skillful bakers, right in front of your eyes. Just opposite the pizzeria, downstairs in the arcades you will find the ‘Ribarnica’ (fish market), a true seafood lovers paradise. All sorts of fresh fish and beautiful wonders of the sea are present. My personal highlight is the vegan cake stall where you can find many healthy and delicious deserts and biscuit.
A big section is devoted to local art and crafts, blankets, baskets and souvenirs. Often, Balkan musicians play and make the atmosphere even more charming. The Pogačar square sometimes is host to different themed events featuring homemade culinary delights, local farm produce, and organic foods offered by Slovenian farmers from various regions.
Visiting the market is guaranteed to put you in a great mood for the day and gives you the perfect opportunity to practice your Slovenian.